Cross country attends Princeton Invitational and hosts the Leopard Invitational simultaneously

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Senior Brian Clayton (pictured) placed third out of 49 runners in the men’s individual 8k race. (Photo Courtesy of GoLeopards.com)

Caroline McParland, Sports Editor

The men’s and women’s cross country teams each sent six athletes to the Princeton Invitational while the remaining runners hosted the Leopard Invitational at the Metzgar Field Course this past Saturday. The teams were happier with the results of their home meet than their performance at Princeton.

“The meets that we were at were extremely different from each other,” senior Autumn Sands said. “For the home meet, Metzgar is very hilly, and then Princeton is an extremely flat course, but it’s longer than what we normally run.”

“There were some really great performances at our home meet, but overall I think we were just like a bit disappointed, especially at Princeton. It was supposed to be a really fast course, but it ended up being a super hot day, so we all didn’t run as fast as we wanted to,” Sands said.

At the Princeton Invitational, Lafayette placed 18th out of 22 in the 8000-meter men’s race with a score of 467.

Senior Barry Austin placed 41st (25:28.3) of 208 runners, with classmate Thomas Anthony coming in 98th (26:20.4) and freshman Charley Eagle in 103rd (26:33.0). Rounding out the top five were junior Bobby Oehrlein (110th, 26:42.1) and freshman Emil Arangala (115th, 26:50.6).

Lafayette placed 15th overall out of 21 teams in the 6170-meter women’s race with a score of 398.

Sands placed in 39th (22:47.7) out of 176 runners, with junior Becky Hartmann in 68th (23:41.2) and junior Dannah Javens closely behind in 71st (23:44.2). Rounding out Lafayette’s top five were freshman Maura Timoney (92nd, 24:17.4), and junior Katie Riley (26:00.5).

Meanwhile, at the Leopard Invitational, Bucknell placed first overall, with Lafayette finishing in second out of the five teams on the men’s side with a total score of 65.

Senior Brian Clayton placed in third place out of 49 runners in the men’s race, coming after two Bucknell athletes and finishing with a time of 26:03.12.

Following two more Bucknell athletes was senior Jesse Schmeizer in sixth place with a time of 26:21.56.

Rounding out the top five for Lafayette’s men’s side were sophomore Alex Gent (20th, 27:28.64), freshman A.J. Sanford (21st, 27:33.44) and sophomore Sean Hamilton (28th, 27:53.41).

Bucknell University was victorious yet again in the women’s race, with Lafayette finishing in last place of the four teams with a total score of 83.

Senior Cassandra Wilk led the way for the Leopards in 10th place out of 37 runners with a time of 24:19.49.

“It felt good to be up near the front at the home meet. Since the two races were pretty much run at the same time, I was thinking about my teammates at the other race the whole time and just trying to be competitive and hoping they were having a great race,” Wilk said.

Behind Wilk was sophomore Emma Lorey in 11th place (24:20.51), and senior Julia Eustace in 18th place(25:01.90).

“Julia Eustace stood out so much to me. Our home course is really difficult and hilly, and we’ve raced it at our Laf-Lehigh Dual Meet and then again this past weekend, and she dropped almost a minute off of her time,” Wilk said. “She’s just really been pushing herself and working her way up and I’m really proud of her.”

Sophomore Mikayla Randall (19th, 25:02.28) and freshman Caroline Johnson (36th, 27:41.65) rounded out the top five Leopard finishers.

“If you look at the results, all of us actually passed a really decent amount of people each mile, so I was really happy with that because that’s what our coach wanted us to do,” Sands said.

“I think we’re all still trying to work on our ‘kick’, or how we finish the race… We had some people in the beginning of the season coming back from injury, but our top seven is getting more into the groove now. I think we’re ready to go into Patriot Leagues,” Sands said.

“This week, we are getting in some of our last difficult workouts and starting to cut back on mileage a bit to start getting our legs feeling fresh for Patriot Leagues,” Wilk said. “Sometimes nerves can really get to people, so I just want everyone to be excited and think of Patriot Leagues as a perfect opportunity to see how our training has culminated into what will hopefully be a wonderful race at the end of the season.”

“We weren’t necessarily preparing for that meet specifically. It was more like that meet was preparing us for Patriot Leagues,” Sands said.

The cross country team looks ahead to the Patriot League Championship on Sunday, Oct. 31.